Scotland is an adventurer’s dream: it has some of the planet’s most pristine wilderness, hiking and mountain biking trails galore, some of the best whisky in the world, a fascinating history, and castles.
The land of the Gaels offers a lot of adventure options. But these five are the best.
1. Backpack the West Highland Way
The 96-mile West Highland Way is the best-known hiking trail in Scotland, starting in Milngavie (just north of Glasgow) and ending in Fort William, the “outdoor capital of the UK.” The route can be hiked in about a week.
Along the way, hikers see some of Scotland’s most beautiful countryside, complete with sloping mountains, huge lochs (lakes), heather-covered hills, furry Highland “coos” (cows), and breathtaking views. The trail winds alongside the UK’s largest body of water, Loch Lomond, and its tallest mountain, Ben Nevis.
Hikers who aren’t into camping can stay in B&Bs along the way. Most of these businesses will also help hikers transfer their packs from town to town.
2. …or the Great Glen Way
The Great Glen Way is another fantastic walking tour of the Highlands. Clocking in at 73 miles, it departs from Fort William and heads north to Inverness. The trail runs along the Great Glen fault, which created the long line of gigantic lakes and mountains in the region.
Less traveled than the West Highland Way, Great Glen offers incredibly scenic views without the crowds. It passes through charming small towns like Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness, where hikers can stop and watch boats go through a series of locks as they travel the Caledonian Canal.
A portion of the Great Glen Way is featured in Walking Connection’s self-guided seven-day walking tour.